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Your Technology Problems...SOLVED

JULY 31, 2013

Featured Content

What's New at Experts Exchange
>From the SLO and beyond

Nata's Corner
Android, ransom and the Feds

The New Search
A major upgrade to the system

Being an Expert
How to really be one

Access gets another superstar

What people are saying

In Brief
Things you might have missed

Who did what through July 27

What's New at E-E

Share the love: Experts Exchange wants to hear about how the site has helped you out of a particularly difficult situation, and is ready to send you a $50 Amazon gift card if your story is selected as one of the most interesting; send it in as a video, and the prize goes up to $100. The entry deadline is August 8, so give the folks in the marketing department something to read today.

KnowledgebasePersonal knowledgebase: If you haven't explored EE's new Personal Knowledgebase, you're missing out on a pretty handy tool that includes all of these improvements and features:

  • You can now save questions, articles, member profiles, external (or internal) links, files, and personal notes to your Personal Knowledgebase.
  • The search within the Personal Knowledgebase now works! And it searches on your notes, too!
  • You're able to add labels to items to organize them.
  • You can attach files to questions and articles directly from your Personal Knowledgebase.
  • The "Add to Knowledgbase" checkbox during the closing question process is gone.

Currently, there's a limit to the number of items you can have -- 500 -- but EE expects to raise that limit in the near future. Feel free to report any bugs using the BugFinder project for the new system.

Cloud Class: The most recent addition to the Cloud Class is Zack Barresse's demonstration of structured tables in Excel 2013. Dozens of video tutorials, from HTML for beginners to disaster recovery planning, are available as part of Experts Exchange's Cloud Classes.

DrackulaUnlimited racks for $29/mo: It's a data center app that doesn't bite, also known as dRACKula. Now you can get unlimited users and manage unlimited racks and datacenters for just $29 a month or $299 a year.

ExpertOffice: ExpertOffice, EE's private knowledge-sharing system for individual businesses, is now accepting applications for its pilot program scheduled to begin at the beginning of Q4 (October), but there's only one day left to get your business's name into the pool. Apply here.

Podcasts: All of the Experts Exchange podcasts, including the most recent, are available on iTunes and SoundCloud, and you can listen to them on the Stitcher app for iOS and Android mobile devices.

BugfinderBugFinder: BugFinder is Experts Exchange's new system that allows you to post your website and have Experts help you find the problems with spelling and grammar, display issues, functionality and security issues, or just get feedback. You assign points based on the nature of the bugs found, and can reward those Experts who help you out the most. Check it out.

Free trial: Know someone who could benefit from Experts Exchange, but who has always said that s/he doesn't want to spend some money on something without trying it? Have that person fill out this form and they'll get a 90-day free trial.

The New Search

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As you've probably noticed, Experts Exchange released a new search system a few weeks back. We've highlighted the major highlights of it, but EE's Chief PooBah of development, Mark Barbir, was kind enough to send us a more complete list of what's new and improved:

  1. Advanced Search has changed.
    • It starts off a little simpler, just allowing you to add a keywords clause and change the display options. Then, as you select the boxes for different content types, more clause type options are added.
    • There are also blue ? buttons next to each clause type that contain a little information on how to use that clause type to search.
    • The names of some of the sections have been changed for clarification purposes.
    • Custom Query is gone; everything we can search for is already contained in the advanced search interface so it wouldn't be useful anyway.
    • There's a "Save this search" checkbox so you can save your search before you see the results.
    • There are some small visual changes as well.
  2. On search results, there are some other improvements:
    • You can sort by the same options (more than we used to have, incidentally) as on the Advanced Search page. There's a dropdown at the top of the results that you can change. It'll change right away - there's not another "Submit" button or anything.
    • On list view, you can also sort by clicking the column headers. The sort dropdown will show you how the list is sorted.
    • On list view, you can hover over the topic icon and see the name of the actual topic that the question is in.
  3. The Narrow Search Results sidebar is a bit different.
    • Since the "open questions", "closed questions", and "all questions" tabs are gone from the top of the search results, they've been placed in this sidebar as "Question Status". NOTE: If you select "open only" or "solved only", then the search will automatically only search for questions -- all other content types will not be in the search results, even if you've checked the box for them under the "Content Types" section.
    • If you're logged in, it's now above the workspace, so people can see it's there. You can click the "-" button in the upper right corner to minimize the whole section.

Most importantly of all, searches themselves should return more relevant and accurate results. This is because EE has switched to using the SOLR engine. The old search indexed titles only; SOLR indexes the title, description, and other meta content. We hope to eventually incorporate other "quality signals" such as "Used In Solution", views, click throughs, time on page, and so on.

Nata's Corner

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Nata's PicturegrandmaWhen you think about how much money and energy Google is putting into Android (including buying a cell phone manufacturer to put Android on), it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Android is rapidly becoming the new favorite target of malware, trojans and everything else Windows users have been fighting off for years. The latest is another hole in Android's security. However, a vulnerability in Google Glass was fixed almost as fast as it was found.

If you make the mistake of letting some relative know that you work on computers, sooner or later you're going to get asked why your nephew or brother-in-law can't get rid of that annoying pop-up box -- especially if it tells him that the computer is infected and please send $300 to get it fixed; the latest one -- targeting Mac users -- says it's from the FBI. Avoiding the mess isn't that hard: first, temporarily disable JavaScript in your browser -- that lets you close the pop-up, because a lot of them are set to stay open until you click the button they want you to click. Clear your history, your cache, and anything else that might cause you to visit the page again. Close the browser window and then re-enable JavaScript. You can also force-quit the browser, but it's possible, depending on your settings, that when you re-open the browser, you'll wind up on the same page, or worse, you'll have your home page reset to it.

This is all the work of the MoneyPak malware, which I've written about before. Obviously, the key to not getting the malware in the first place is to just first, not visit sites that might have malware, and second, don't click on the button that says "pay the $300 to get rid of it". But if you do get the malware installed, you can a general guideline to cleaning it here. There are lots of variants though, so asking a question in the Antivirus topic area and reading Russell_Venable's articles on EE will help.

It's bad enough that the Feds want your emails and phone records and search history, but now they're going one step too far: they're asking for passwords too. Given that a couple of months ago, Microsoft issued a paper that said that ransomewhere -- like the kind I talk about above -- is beginning to contain password-stealing code, it seems like it's a short step for government employees -- who aren't necessarily the most honest people -- to start peeking into what's behind a password.

Finally, it's time to check your banking and credit accounts again. I don't know what an appropriate punishment is for these guys -- but I'm pretty sure it includes something psychologically very painful. Just don't believe the numbers.


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You know you know your stuff when angelIII and matthewspatrick are sending notes about you to the editor... and that was just the start of Bitsqueezer's week, when he answered a question from developingprogrammer about using implements in VBA. developingprogrammer had already gotten quite a bit of assistance from some of the Access topic area's heavy hitters: wayne_phillips, DatabaseMX and LukeChung-FMS, but was stymied by a bug that has existed -- or is it really a bug, or is it just the way Access works?

In any case, the depth and breadth of Bitsqueezer's replies impressed the heck out of everyone:

  • angelIII: "Just amazing stuff from the expert."
  • matthewspatrick: "That truly is some outstanding work. I had no idea Implements could even be used in VBA. Bitsqueezer's write-up is, simply put, awesome."
  • developingprogrammer: "Guys, having y'all here IS standing in the shoulders of giants... superb superb once again. really amazed at both what you know and how much you go to help me and my quirky programming... you're my role model..."
  • modus_operandi: "Your answer in http://www.experts-exchange.com/Q_28190703.html is, simply put, one of the most outstanding I've seen all year."

That got a couple of people looking around, and they found Bitsqueezer's artice on How to synchronize forms using own events, which, at presstime, wasn't an Editors' Choice article, but is still worth reading:

After experimenting a while with the new split form in Access 2007 I found that it has too many problems to be usable, especially if you need subforms.

The idea is good but internally Access uses two different form objects to create a split form and that's often a big problem. I tried to use an object variable inside of a split form and after a lot of tests, wherein I asked myself "why I can't access the stored data inside of the object", I found out that two objects are instantiated when opening a new split form -- one for the single form and one for the datasheet form. Access handles the form in VBA "as one" so any access to the form uses only the single form. Only constructs like "Screen.ActiveDatasheet.Form" can be used to access the other form.

Another annoying point is the automatic creation of subdatasheets if a subform is created on the single form part. Every line in the datasheet part gets a "[+]" sign and you can open the subform directly at the chosen line. That would be good if both forms would be synchronized -- but if you change something in one subform it is not shown in the other part. If you have more than one subform, only the first one in the tab order is bound to the datasheet part. No chance to change this. If you try to change the SourceObject property of the subform to change the subform to another form then Access crashes if you try to access the [+] in the datasheet part...

I found no way to switch of this feature.

If you're a budding Access developer, and even if you're not, it's almost worth setting up a saved search to watch for Bitsqueezer's posts; they're gold.


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Sometimes, it's the little things that get overlooked. ussynth was trying to change the decimal settings in SQL Server, but couldn't get them to change. angelIII first told him it might be the interface, but then suggested the real problem: he was looking at the wrong server. "Well, after scoffing at your suggestion that I made such a basic and fundamental mistake, I decided to check and see. You are absolutely correct! The change took place on the production server, but I was verifying the test server."

lrbrister was modifying some code in a VB.Net dictionary, and got two responses -- one each from CodeCruiser (who wrote the original code) and angelIII: "Exceptionally cool guys. I have come a LONG way...just because of primarily you two folks."

dotsonpaper has a boatload of subscribers to his WordPress site, and didn't want to have to go through all of them one by one to change their user levels. tagit and jason1178 came to his assistance: "Experts-Exchange and Jason1178 and tagit saved me hours of work. Imagine manually editing over 1,300 user records in WordPress.
   1. Enter user name and click search, wait...
   2. When user name appears, click to edit, wait...
   3. When edit screen appears, select new user level,
   4. Click to save update
...and repeat. On a normal internet connection with a normal WP install, that four step cycle would be easily two minutes per. Factor that out over 1,300 users and you get 43.33 hours of work -- if you do not count the errors and mistakes which always happen with manual repetitive repetitive repetitive tasks. Thank you again jason1178 and tagit."

InformationAndSecurityBuzz.com listed its top 25 female Infosec leaders to follow on Twitter a couple of weeks ago. Among them, EE's Expert and frequent guest blogger Bev Robb, AKA teksquisite: "Sometimes tech journalists need to be picked on, and what better weapon to use against them than a stealth I.T consultant. So if you suddenly find journalists vanishing from your feed with no trace -- Blame Bev."

An Oracle profile on Linux was giving matrix0511 some issues; slightwv came to the rescue: "Ok. Great. Thanks for all your help. You were awesome!! Outstanding support!" The question also got the attention of one of the Cleanup Volunteers, dvz: "Just to commend slightwv to the Mods for going way beyond expectations to help the novice author. Very nicely done."

Finally, one of EE's leading Experts on networking issues, hanccocka, wanted to know if he could do a little testing of EE's dRACKula system. Daniella Gammon, EE's customer service manager, got him set up: "Brilliant, Dani has set me up! Time to dump my spreadsheets! Thanks Again!"

In Brief

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Not talking: While almost every major tech company has gone on record calling for the US government and specifically, the NSA, to become more transparent about what it collects and who it collects it from (All Things Digital published the letter), the major telecommunications companies are not answering the phone. One Utah ISP decided to shed some light, however, and ZDNet filled in the blanks. Scary stuff. Of course, you can always simply spam the heck out of them.

+ cum spr2 2o: The Vatican is going to offer plenary indulgences to Pope Francis's Twitter followers.

Billions of webmasters suddenly sighed in relief: The patent troll who laid claims on virtually every website is toast.

Don't bother trying 9-1-1: There's a flaw in the encryption of SIM cards that makes about 750 million phones vulnerable to being remotely controlled.

EU: it's not enough: The European Union has told Google that its latest set of proposals, intended to settle antitrust allegations in Europe, don't go far enough in addressing concerns that Google favors its own services over those of other companies. So far, Google has managed to avoid the same issues in the US.

The ANY key, British style: British Prime Minister David Cameron wants to create an Internet blacklist. (We suspect the US Commerce department won't find this funny, though.)

The insurance rates will be killer: A 14-month-old girl bought a car on eBay. If eBay can tap that toddler market, it will be able to afford to give away $92,233,720,368,547,800.00.

It's NOT in the game: The contract between Electronic Arts and the NCAA won't be renewed when it expires in 2014 -- a casualty of the four-year-old lawsuit filed by former college athletes against the governing body for intercollegiate athletics in the US.

Heck of a business plan: Make your users hate themselves... but not too much. Or you can do what T-Mobile does: take catty -- but funny -- potshots at AT&T.

Coming this fall: Kaputsville: Zynga is rapidly approaching penny-stock levels after deciding it can't wait for online gambling. Who knows what the new CEO will do.

Trouble below the Surface: Microsoft's revenue and profit was up in its latest earnings report, but all is not well in Redmond. For one thing, a huge inventory of Surface RTs cost Microsoft $900 million; for another, the company is being very coy about how many Windows 8 licenses it has sold. Predictably, the stock dropped; the only consolation: Google's earnings missed the mark too, with similar results.

Think twice about that Sunday drive: It's not just the NSA that's collecting data; so are local law enforcement agencies. If you don't think they'll turn it over to the NSA, we have some beachfront property outside Albuquerque we'll sell you...

In requiem: Former UPI and Hearst White House correspondent Helen Thomas and boxer Emile Griffith. Possibly in serious jeopardy: the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Maybe.

"They killed Kenny!" We mentioned last issue that Microsoft is shutting down TechNet; now there's a Change.org petition asking Microsoft for an alternative.

Physics lesson for the week: We want one for the company foyer.

"It's where the money is." The latest targets for cyber-attackers: banks and universities.

Signs of the Apocalypse: Yahoo's revenues dropped, and even fell short of expectations... but the stock price rose. The police officer who pepper-sprayed students at the University of California, Davis, and became one of 2011's best Internet memes and YouTube sensations, has applied for worker's compensation claiming psychiatric injury. A college student in California is going to jail for a year for using a keylogger to rig an election. Virtual (not real) currency is hit by a real Ponzi scheme.


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New Geniuses: angelIII is back to being all alone at the top of the Most Genius Certificates list, as he picked up his 13th, in Visual Basic.NET. Receiving their first Genius certificates were sedgwick, in .NET Programming and dgofman, in Adobe Flash. Congratulations!


Expert In Topic Area Certificate
sedgwick.NET ProgrammingGenius
jyparask.NET ProgrammingGuru
stephanonline.NET ProgrammingGuru
guru_sami.NET ProgrammingSage
JaihuntActive DirectoryGuru
dgofmanAdobe FlashGenius
breadtanAuditing SoftwareMaster
arnoldCentOS LinuxMaster
demazterEmail ClientsGuru
tailoreddigitalHardware ComponentsMaster
carlmdHardware FirewallsGuru
xxdcmastIT AdministrationMaster
G_HMicrosoft IIS Web ServerMaster
breadtanMicrosoft OSGuru
fl_flyfishingMicrosoft OSMaster
takecoffeMicrosoft OSMaster
tailoreddigitalMisc HardwareMaster
jackiemanMisc NetworkingMaster
thinkpads_userMisc NetworkingWizard
aikimarkMisc ProgrammingGuru
CEHJMisc Web DevMaster
LukeChung-FMSMS AccessGuru
Nick67MS AccessSage
TheHiTechCoachMS AccessSage
Expert In Topic Area Certificate
thinkpads_userMS ApplicationsWizard
pkwanMS ExcelMaster
ded9MS OfficeMaster
footechMS Server OSMaster
MattSQLMS SQL ServerGuru
MattSQLMS SQL Server 2005Master
jimhornMS SQL Server 2005Wizard
ged325MS SQL Server 2008Guru
dsackerMS SQL Server 2008Master
edtechdbaMS SQL Server 2008Master
TempDBAMySQL ServerMaster
jodylemoineNetwork ManagementMaster
Darr247Networking HardwareWizard
craigbeckNetworking ProtocolsMaster
BitsqueezerQuery SyntaxMaster
abbasifttSBS Small Business ServerMaster
Sembee2SBS Small Business ServerWizard
CodeCruiserVB ScriptGuru
oBdAVB ScriptWizard
angelIIIVisual Basic.NETGenius
EaswaranPVisual Basic.NETMaster
aadihWeb BrowsersMaster
ve3ofaWeb BrowsersWizard
luconstaWindows 2003 ServerMaster
takecoffeWindows 7Master
ve3ofaWindows NetworkingGuru
aarontomoskyWindows NetworkingMaster
ZabagaRWindows Server 2008Master
footechWindows Server 2008Wizard
Sembee2Windows Server 2008Wizard